Colloquial Portuguese is not only fun; it is a part of daily life in Brazil. What would you answer in the following situation? You are in Brazil and you meet your friend to go out for dinner:
YOU: Oi, tudo bem?
YOUR FRIEND: Nossa! Tô um bagaço. Bati perna o dia todo resolvendo coisas.
YOU: O quê?
YOUR FRIEND: Vamos? Estou verde de fome! E hoje vamos colocar o papo em dia 🙂
YOU: Ummmm… OK.
I remember when I first arrived in San Francisco to spend three months studying English. I was living in a residence hotel full of international students. Fun times 🙂 I had studied English in Brazil for many years and was fluent in the language. However, I felt pretty lost when I got here and found myself speaking with Americans. I remember one particular morning at the hotel when one of the young staff members greeted me with, “What’s up?” All I could do was stare and say, “Excuse me?” Later I could not believe that during all those years studying English in Brazil no one had ever taught me something as simple as “What’s up?”
Colloquial expressions are a big part of life. Idioms challenge even advanced speakers because you cannot simply translate them. If you ask google what an idiom is, it will tell you the following: Idioms is “a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.”
The dialogue above is a good example of how colloquial expressions may prevent an advanced speaker of Portuguese from understanding a simple interaction. Think about it for a moment. How many times a day you say things like, “What’s up?”, “I pulled an all-nighter”?, “I’m a wreck”, “We need to catch up”?
My experiences learning English and teaching Portuguese inspired my passion for the real spoken language. That’s what Street Smart Brazil is all about. Yes, there are things that only living your life in the new language will be able to teach you, but we can take action to bridge the gap between what you learn and what you live when you travel to my beautiful Brazil. You can speak Portuguese that is modern and real, yet elegant and correct.
It was this same respect for the need to communicate well that led professora Renata and I to publish 51 Portuguese Idioms – Speak Like a Brazilian. We wanted to show colloquial expressions in the context of real-life situations. By the way, all the expressions in the opening dialogue above are in the book 🙂
51 Portuguese Idioms is available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback.
To give your friends the gift of good Brazilian Portuguese, give them 51 Portuguese Idioms. Você vai botar pra quebrar 🙂